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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  March 20, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT

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that does it for us. we're going to see you again one hour from us. another hour of "ac 360" at 10:00. "piers morgan tonight" starts now. >> thanks, anderson. big night for mitt romney in illinois based on exit polls and early votes. romney is the winner by double digits. much more of that in a moment. but look at the numbers. romney in the lead at 54%. santorum at 28%. ron paul and gingrich a distant third and fourth. we're waiting on mitt romney to speak now and second place rick santorum will also be speaking. we'll look ahead to the next stop on the primary sale. louisiana on saturday. and maryland, wisconsin, and
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d.c. on april 3rd. cnn's top team, wolf blitzer and john king. and gloria borger and david gergen. promoted to new york tonight. >> happy to be here. >> let's start with wolf. looks like a big win for mitt romney. how significant is illinois to his general campaign? >> if he stays above 50% in this vote in illinois, it'll be very significant. illinois being a very important state because of its population, the diversity. it's a big state. a lot of delegates at stake. he's going to do really well in illinois. clearly come out with the most delegates. rick santorum, he did the best he could. i think it was a blunder on his part to go off to puerto rico for two days. he could have been spending those days in illinois doing a bit better. not sure it would have been much of a difference in terms of the final vote. his problem in illinois was he was not able to get on the ballot in four of these 19
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congressional districts in illinois. so he's at a disadvantage in the delegate count even if he were to have gotten more votes in illinois and he's not going to. he's going to do more poorly than romney. he's not getting near the delegates in illinois. but it's not over for rick santorum by any means. louisiana is coming up as you point out on saturday. more contests in april. he's waiting for some of the other states in may and even june to come in. so he's in this. certainly shaping up to be a two-man race. mitt romney and rick santorum. >> and john king, tell me exactly where we are tonight. how many votes have come in? how are you seeing the night progressing? >> well, if you're looking in terms of the raw vote, you see 20% of the vote is almost counted in illinois. romney is doing what he has to do. which is win up here where half of the state's population is up here in chicago and the suburbs around it. governor romney doing very well. we expect as the night go on, most of them to fill in santorum
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purple. the rural areas where he's doing well. governor romney, if you come to the cook county suburbs, these are the critical suburbs right around chicago. governor romney getting 57% of the vote. you see the big margin. he's running it up here. it appears that the calculation is this. this is what will happen tonight. this will be romney red. santorum's been winning in this part of the country. now romney can say i'm competitive in the heartland as well. this is the math that will matter tomorrow. we expect romney to get most of those 54 delegates at stake tonight. so what happens? he will get the state of illinois. he will add to his delegate total. he's closing in on halfway to the magic number. santorum is a second. we expect louisiana to go for senato santorum. romney will still pick up some delegates. you look at this and say number one, where can santorum if he's going to catch governor romney, can't just beat him in louisiana. got to start beating him up here
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where romney is favored. a lot of people will say romney's not there yet. no one else is close to governor romney though. the math hill for the other candidates gets much steeper after tonight. >> let's just put this in a proper perspective. every time we have one of these primaries now, it's like is anyone going to drop out? is anybody actually the front runner? on the pure stats alone, mitt romney is surging ahead. and yet no one is yet saying he's definitely won. why is that? what happens next? >> he hasn't definitely won. but in a campaign that has had many, many unexpected twists and turns, i think we may look back and say tonight was the final big turning point. here in a big state, newt gingrich has faded as candidate. rick santorum had a chance to go one-on-one with romney. i'm not sure if this is romney winning or santorum is losing.
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>> santorum has made a mistake. there was that terrible week. then he had the jfk slur. then the snob remark. even today he's making a comment about he doesn't care about the unemployment. it's unlike the santorum we saw surging away through january. what's gone wrong with his campaign? >> i think he doesn't have a message. i think what he does is going down these rabbit holes. when you travel with rick santorum and he gets asked a tough question, a question that's not on his message, he actually answers it and continues to answer it instead of saying, that's nice but let's talk about the economy. he doesn't know how to stay on message. that's not good when you're a presidential candidate. i think the question we have now is when the romney campaign will publicly come out, privately some folks have said it to me -- but publicly come out and call him a spoiler, an
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obstructionist. >> what happens with newt gingrich though? looking at tonight's result, he wasn't really competing. but there is a moment surely where newt gingrich probably has to stand aside. he's a proud man. this may be his last chance nomination. he's not going to go unless he has to. what is the tipping point for newt gingrich? >> the tipping point came when the debates ended. for him. he could get his message out. but then, you know, newt gingrich has a lot of internal problems anyway. but once he became a regional candidate and couldn't win in alabama, couldn't win in louisiana -- mississippi. i just think his campaign has faded. >> should he stand down now? >> well, he could. but, you know, i believe maybe it's not relevant whether he stands down or stays in at 6%. what's the big deal? >> what if he stood down and said i'm putting all my support
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behind rick santorum? >> here's the interesting thing. people don't necessarily have to follow him, number one. we know electability is the most important thing to republican voters. republican voters may think that mitt romney is more electable as we've seen in all the primaries. and now the romney people believe that actually newt's votes would be split evenly. and it used to be they didn't want newt gingrich to get out because they wanted him to keep splitting that vote. now they don't care. because they need delegates. and with gingrich out of the race, they get to 1144 faster. >> on the pure financial statistics, it's almost ridiculous now. mitt romney has raised a total of $63 million. $11.5 million in february alone. rick santorum, $6.5 million raised in total. those figures aren't quite right. but he's being dwarfed. mitt romney is dwarfing
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everybody. at what point does his machinery, his financial fire power just overwhelm everyone and the others say okay. it's you. >> well, number one, the amount of money is candidate raises to run for office, it's about how much public support they have. i don't look at it as machinery as it is popularity. the fact is money flows to the people who have the most support. and mitt romney has been able to prove that. many say i was outspent. you know what? stop complaining. you got outspent because you weren't able to muster as much support financially as the other guy. that's life. that's political life. but you know, i try to step back from these primaries and not just take it one race at a time. say what's the bigger trend? if you go back to the iowa caucus where this all began in january, mitt romney keeps taking two steps forward and one step back ward.
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he lost of course mississippi and alabama last week. maybe the same pattern happens. he could lose louisiana saturday. i think we're also realistically heading into a step of the race now where mitt romney's going to be able to take three steps forward and one step back. >> ari, i have to take one step back now. we have to go to a break. we'll be back on this. we're waiting for both candidates to speak. we'll be back after this break. if they're not speaking yet, we'll turn to our expert panel. [ male announcer ] if you were building the perfect laptop,
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[worker 2:] we need environmental protection. [announcer:] conocophillips says, you're right. find out how natural gas answers both at powerincooperation.com. waiting for speeches from mitt romney and rick santorum. back with me now in washington, wolf blitzer and john king. here with me in new york gloria borger and david gergen. i've got to read this out. david gergen is so smart. but since you're so smart, imagine you're rick santorum tonight. you're looking at where this campaign's gone wrong. i spoke to his wife last night as she tried to almost single handedly rein him back in from
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this arch right wing rhetoric on social issues. because clearly that is not working anymore. and actually mitt romney moves it back to the economy, playing to his strengths is beginning to gather more momentum away from santorum. what could santorum do, if anything, to get back on track? >> he has to get back to his original message. he was the guy from the steel town and his dad worked hard. he associated with the working class and the blue collar guy. and talked about manufacturing and restoring manufacturing. and the social issues were secondary. gloria's point, i think he's tired. i think he's fundamentally wiped out. and he's lost his discipline so that he keeps talking about the social issues which are just sort -- >> gloria, isn't it a tiring thing if you haven't got the infrastructure behind you like mitt romney. they all bleed about mitt romney spending more money. he's got a better campaign. i heard you say it earlier. when they come up against barack obama, he's got a billion dollars waiting to sling him over the nominees.
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>> rick santorum was at 1% in the polls, 2% in the polls. came out of nowhere. that's why he didn't end up with a bunch of delegates in illinois. >> let me stop you there. we just got mitt romney and romney's marching to the podium. let's see what he has to say. ♪ >> wow. thank you, illinois. thank you so much. you know, tomorrow is our anniversary. and we will have been married 43 years, so happy anniversary, sweet heart.
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a very big special for dan weatherford who was just out here. we appreciate him. he has been a great state chairman for our effort here. and he was as well four years ago. so we appreciate dan weatherford. senator mark kirk who you know is not doing well, we love him and think about him. mitch has spoke with him. we all spend our prayers to mark kirk. congressman aaron schock. he's in the audience. right back there. congress woman judy bigart. we knew he flew around with dan. so we're appreciative. oh. i forgot congressman don bold. >> bob dole. >> bob dole. >> close. >> let's see. house speaker tom cross.
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senate president. our entire state of illinois delegates. and you know what i have to do? i have to tonight because i didn't get a chance to do this properly. i have to thank our friends in puerto rico. we were treated so warmly, so graciously, so loving. it was a great experience. but governor luis fortuno. his first lady. we so love her. committee woman zori fanadas, ron coffman, james garcia and all elected leaders. there were so many that helped us there. especially the delegates' volunteers. and the people of puerto rico for their support. thank you, puerto rico. now i get to sort of just say what's in my heart.
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you know, mitt and i have been in a lot of states. we've gone through every part of this country. and i am so moved by the people of this country that are counting on someone to go to washington and to take things in their hands and fix it. [ chanting mitt ] >> i sense everything that you're experiencing right here tonight 37 this sense we want to take this country back. that we are feeling as though that strong strangling arm of government is invading every corner of our life. let me tell you something else that's happening. women are coming to me saying
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will you please talk about deficit spending and budgets. i'm loving that. loving that. women are angry. they're angry about the legacy we're going to leave their children and their grandchildren. and i'm going to tell them something. i've got somebody here that can fix it. so we're going to turn the time over to the guy that can go and fix it. >> thank you. oh, thank you. thank you. thanks, you guys. so many great friends in this room and across illinois. what a night. thank you, illinois. what a night. and of course i'd like to congratulate my fellow candidates on a hard-fought
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contest here. i'd like to thank in particular the volunteers and our friends across the state. and frankly in other states who have been working hard. i appreciate their unwavering support through good times and bad. and tonight we thank the people of illinois for their vote and for this extraordinary victory. thank you so much. you know elections are about choices. and today hundreds of thousands of people in illinois have joined millions of people across the country to join our cause. and this movement began on a small farm in new hampshire on a sunny june day. we were surrounded by a small group of our friends and supporters and family. we shared a conviction that the america we loved was in trouble and adrift without strong leadership. and three years of barack obama
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have brought us fewer jobs, and shrinking paychecks. many of us feel we're in danger of losing something more than the value of our homes and 401(k)s. after years of too many apologies and not enough jobs, historic drops in income and historic highs in gas prices, a president who doesn't hesitate to use all the means necessary to force through obama care on the american public but leads from behind on the world. it's time to say these words. this word. enough. we've had enough. we know our future. we know our future is brighter than these troubled times. we still believe in america. and we deserve a president who believes in us. and i believe in the american people.
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now, you know that yesterday i was giving a speech at the university of chicago. not far from here. not far from where president barack obama taught. it was a speech of economic freedom. and as i was writing the speech, i thought to my lifetime of experiences. i've had a lot of opportunity to learn about the unique genius of america's free enterprise system. it started, of course, with my dad. he didn't graduate from college. and he would tell me about his dad who was a contractor. and you know about construction. up and down years. he never quite made it, but he never gave up. and raised great kids. later i helped start companies. and those began with just an idea and somehow they made it
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through the difficult times and were able to create a good return for investors and thousands of jobs. and those jobs helped families buy their first homes. those jobs put kids through school. those jobs helped people live better lives, dream a little bigger. for 25 years i lived and breathed business and the economy and jobs. i had successes and failures. each step of the way i learned more about what it is that makes our american system so powerful. you can't learn that teaching constitution law at university of chicago. you can't even learn that as a community organizer. but the truth is this president
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doesn't understand the genius of america's economy or the secret of the american economic success story. the american economy is fueled by freedom. the history of the world has shown that economic freedom is the only force that has consistently lifted people out of poverty. it's the only principal that has -- prosperity. over the past three years this administration has been engaged in an all-out assault on our freedom. under this president, bureaucrats keep coal from being mined. they impede the supply of natural gas. they tell farmers what their kids are able to do on their farms. this administration's assault on
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freedom has kept this so-called recovery from meeting their projections let alone our expectations. and now, by the way, the president is trying to erase his record with some new rhetoric. the other day he said this. he said we are inventors, we are builders, we are makers of things. we're the wright brothers. we're bill gates. we are bill jobs. wait i missed that. we are steve jobs. that's true. but the problem is, he's still barack obama. >> and, you see, under barack obama, those pioneers he mentioned would have faced a very difficult time trying to
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invent and invest and create. under dodd frank, they would have found it impossible to get a loan through their community bank. and the regulators would have shut down the wright brothers for dust pollution. and of course the government would have banned thomas edison's lightbulb. by the way, they just did, didn't they? now, you know that the real cost of these misguided policies, these attacks on economic freedom, this intrusion of the government into our freedom. the cost of that are the ideas that are not pursued. and the dreams that aren't realized. and therefore all the little businesses that don't get started. and the tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of workers who don't get hired.
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for centuries the american dream has met the opportunity to build something new. some of america's greatest success stories are people who started out with nothing but a good idea. and a corner of their garage. but too often today americans who want to start a business or launch a new venture, they don't see promise and opportunity. they see government standing in the way. and i'm going to change that. we're going to get government out of the way. you know, we once built an interstate highway system and the hoover dam. now we can't even build a pipeline. i mean, we once led the world in manufacturing and exports, investment. today we lead the world in lawsuits. you know, when we replace a law professor with a conservative businessman as president, that's going to end.
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i think -- i think you know this. every great innovation, every great breakthrough begins with a dream. and nothing is more fragile than a dream. the genius of america is that we nurture those dreams and the dreamers. we honor them. and yes we reward them. that's part of what's uniquely brilliant about america. but day by day, job killing regulation by job killing regulation. bureaucrat by bureaucrat, this president is crushing the dream and the dreamers and i will make sure that finally ends. you know, the proof of the
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president's failure is seeing how tepid this economic recovery is. i mean, this administration thinks that the economy's struggling because the stimulus wasn't large enough. the truth is the economy is struggling because the government is too big. you and i know something the president still hasn't learned. even after three years and hundreds of billions of dollars of spending and borrowing. it is not the government that creates our prosperity. the prosperity of america is the product of free markets and free people. and they must be protected and nurtured. so tonight was a primary. but november is the general election. and we're going to face a
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defining decision as a people. our choice will not be about party or even personality. this election will be about princip principle. our economic freedom will be on the ballot. i'm offering a real choice and a new beginning. i'm running for president because i have the experience and the vision to get us out of this mess. we know what barack obama's vision is. we've been living it these last three years. my vision is very, very different than what his is. you see, i see an america where the prospects for our children will be better than even those we've enjoyed during our lives. where the pursuit of success by all of us will unite us, not
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divide us. when the government finally understands -- i see a time when we'll finally have a government that understands it's better for more people to pay less in taxes than for a very few to pay a lot more. i see an america where the values we pass on to our children are greater than the debts we leave them. i see an america where poverty is defeated by opportunity, not enabled by a government check. i see an america that is humbled -- excuse me. i seen an america that is
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humble, but it is never humble that leads but is never led. i see an america that is so unquestionably strong that no one in the world would ever think of testing the might of our military. today we took an important step towards that america. tomorrow we'll take another. each day we move closer not just to victory but to a better america. join us. join us. together we're going to ensure that america's greatest days are still ahead. thanks, you guys. thank you so much. and god bless the united states of america. thank you! >> governor mitt romney speaking
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live tonight after his big thumping victory in illinois. coming up we'll hear from rick santorum who came in second. is this victory a game changer to the republican race or just another night on this rocky road to the nominee? ♪ ( whirring and crackling sounds )
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celebrating in mitt romney's camp tonight after a big win in illinois. does the candidate finally have the momentum he's been craving to nail down the nomination? while we wait for rick santorum to speak, we'll go to wolf blitzer. what did you make of governor romney's speech tonight?
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more on to the economy. his strong point. >> yeah. i thought he hit the notes he was certainly needing to hit in terms of not necessarily going after his opponents rick santorum, newt gingrich, or ron paul. you heard virtually nothing about them. but acting very presidential going after the president of the united states making it sound like this was almost an acceptance speech by the republican candidate because it was all focused on the present. and was almost completely focusing in on the economic issues which is mitt romney's strength right now. and i was very impressed also by ann romney and her introduction appealing to women out there who are pretty angry at some of these republican candidates for their comments. one more note. let me point out newt gingrich just issued a statement, piers. i'll read a couple lines of it. not a very congratulatory statement. issued this statement. to defeat barack obama republicans can't nominate a
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candidate who relies on outspending his opponents 7-1. instead we need a nominee who offers powerful solutions that holds the president responsible for his failure. not a gracious congratulatory statement to mitt romney from newt gingrich. >> also, wolf, not entirely accurate. i thought the one thing the republicans do need is someone that can spend big money on beating barack obama. >> because you know -- because president obama's going to have a ton of money. >> exactly. using it as a stick to beat him up, he's got too much money, too big an infrastructure and has been too successful running a campaign. seems to me utterly absurd. >> i think you're right. if the republican nominee whoever that happens to be and it looks like mitt romney certainly has a better chance right now, though rick santorum is in this race now. you're going to need a lot of campaign contributions for the campaign and the super pac to go
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head to head against the president of the united states. >> john king, if you're mitt romney, how significant is tonight's victory? we've had a lot of these swings. santorum wins one. suddenly he's got the surge back. then romney comes back. over the next few primaries, the pendulum will swing again. david gergen said earlier he thought today was potentially very significant. do you agree with that? >> i agree. it is potentially -- emphasis on potentially -- significant. he's going to finish in the ballpark of 50%. that's a convincing victory. here's his answer to newt gingrich. if you want to beat barack obama you have to do better than just winning two states. that will be the response to speaker gingrich. the bad blood that wolf just said in the statement, see in the tone against romney. that is romney's big challenge right now.
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first he has to get the magic number of delegates. means he has to win these contests not filled in yet. i would argue he has to win most of them above the mason-dixson line -- >> john, i have to cut you off. we have rick santorum live now in his headquarters in gettysburg, pennsylvania where he will be speaking to his gathering. ♪ >> thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you. it is great to be back in pennsylvania. thank you for joining us here. let me just thank all of you for being here. i know that they're not going to hear me, but i feel so bad.
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we have about 1,500 people that couldn't get in here. we're overwhelmed by the response here. i feel welcomed back in pennsylvania. so thank you very much. it is -- first, i want to congratulate governor romney. i gave him a call a little earlier and congratulated him on winning the state of illinois. but i also want to say -- i just want to thank all the folks in illinois. all in the -- if you look at what's going to happen tonight, we're going to win down state, we're going to win central illinois, western illinois. we won the areas that conservatives and republicans popula populate. we're happy about that. we're happy about the delegates we're going to get too. we wanted to come here tonight back to pennsylvania, back to a
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favorite place of mine in pennsylvania. the city and the town of gettysburg. obviously it's so many memories come to mind when we walk on here in the town and across the street where abraham lincoln finished the gettysburg address. and you think about the great elections of our past. i've gone around this country over the past year now and said this is the most important election in our lifetimes. i think it's the most important election since the election of 1860. the election in 1860 was about whether these united states -- which is what it was mostly referred to prior to the election of 1860 -- would become the united states. whether it would be a union. a country bound together to build a great and prosperous nation. a nation based on a concept, a
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concept we were birthed with. a concept birthed with our declaration of independence. i said throughout the course of this campaign while issues are important, the economy, joblessness, national security concerns, the family, the issue of life. all of these issues are important. but the foundational issue in this race, the one that is in fact the cause of what we're feeling whether it's in the economy or in the budget crisis that we're dealing with, all boils down to one word. and that's what's at stake in this election and it's behind me on that banner and that's freedom. i was pleased to hear before i
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came out that governor romney is now adopting that theme in his speech tonight. i am glad we are moving the debate here in the republican party. but i've been focused on this because i've been out talking to people across this country. doing over a thousand town hall meetings. i know the anxiety and the concerns people have in this country about an ever-expanding government. a government that is trying to dictate how we're going to live our lives. trying to order us around, trample our freedoms. whether it's our economic freedoms or our religious liberty. but in addition to trampling that freedom, in addition to building a dependency, a dependency on government as we see government expand and grow. now almost half the people in this country depend on some sort of federal payment to make ends meet in america.
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and after and if obama care is implemented, every single american will depend upon the federal government for something that is critical. their health and their life. that's why this election is so important. this is about fundamental things. this is an election about not who's the best person to manage washington or manage the economy. we don't need a manager. we need someone who is going to pull up government by the roots and do something in the private sector in america. that's what we need. >> it's great to have wall street experience. i don't have wall street experience. but i have experience growing up
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in a small town in western pennsylvania. growing up in a steel town. growing up in public housing in apartments and seeing how men and women of this country scraped and clawed because they had the opportunity to climb the ladder of success in america. a lot of those folks out there today feel like nobody in washington and no one in this debate is really talking about them. that's why this is a wonderful movement as i travel around this country. and everywhere i go. i see people, people in work clothes. folks with children who are maybe not getting the educational opportunities they hope for so they can climb that ladder of success. people who are looking for someone to voice their concerns about how this economy is going to turn around for them. not just for those at the top of the income ladder. that's why i've talked about a manufacturing plan, an energy
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plan. someone who believes that if we create opportunities by cutting taxes but reducing the oppressive regulatory burden that this administration has put on business people and people who want to drill for energy. needs someone who has got a strong and clear record that can appeal to voters all across this country. and someone who you can trust. someone that you know when they say they're going to do something, they're not saying it because well that happens to be the popular theme of the moment. but someone who has a long track record of deep convictions. someone who's going to go out and stand and fight. because it's not just what the pollster tells them to say or what's on their teleprompter. i don't happen to have one here tonight.
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>> because they know in their gut from their life experiences from living in america that this is what america needs and america wants. they want someone who's not going to go to washington, d.c. because they want to be the most powerful person in the world to manage washington. they want someone who's going to take that power and give it back to the people of this country. >> there is one candidate in this race that can go out there and make that contrast with the current occupant of the white house. someone who has a track record of being for you.
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being for limited government. being for solutions that empower people on the biggest issues of the day whether it's obama care, romney care, they're interchangeable. we need someone who understands that the solution to the -- it's not government control over that sector of the economy. but it's your control over that sector of the economy. we need someone who understands that we need to grow our energy supplies here in this country. and we need someone you can trust who when in good times and in bad, when times were tough and people thought that all this oil and gas and coal in the
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ground is all a source of carbon dioxide and we can't take that out of the ground because there's a finite supply and it could damage our environment and cause global warming. when the climate -- when those who profess man-made global warming and climate science convinced many, many republicans including two who are running for president on the republican ticket. mitt romney and newt gingrich. but there was one who said i know this isn't climate science. this is political science. >> and this was another attempt of those who want to take power away from you and control your
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access to energy, your utilization whether it's in your car or your home of energy. because they are better to make these decisions about how you use energy than you do. that's what they believe. and unfortunately, just like in healthcare, governor romney and speaker gingrich went along with the ride and guess what? when the climate changed, they changed their position. and now they're all for drilling and they're all for oil and gas and coal. i was for it because it was the right thing to do then, i'll be for it tomorrow and the next day and the next day. i'm not going to change with the climate. ladies and gentlemen, i grew up in this great state and this is the first day -- this is the launch we wanted to come here to pennsylvania, to launch our
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campaign here in pennsylvania. we got five weeks. five weeks to a big win and a big delegate sweep in pennsylvania. i come as a son of pennsylvania, someone who grew up in western pennsylvania. everyone knows the story, i hope, of my grandfather, my dad coming to pennsylvania to work in those coal mines in somerset county. i learned everything, everything about freedom and opportunity and hard work and growing up with folks who worked in the mills and the mines in western pennsylvania. so when i speak and i speak from the heart, in the back of my mind are the pictures of those men and women who worked and scraped and clawed so their
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children and grandchildren could, yes, have a better quality of life. yes, maybe even go to college and not have to work and -- in tough, manual labor. most importantly they thought for things in this battlefield just down the road fought for. they fought for big things. things that america's always stood for. that ronald reagan referred to as that shining city on the hill. things that i'm fighting for here today. the reason karen and i decided in the face of having seven children ages 20 to 3, not exactly the best time to run for president of the united states when you have children 20 to 3, but karen and i felt compelled. we felt compelled because as ronald reagan said in one of his great speeches, we didn't want to have to sit down some day and
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look at the eyes of our children and our children's children and describe to them an america where once men were free. we don't want to be that generation that lost the torch of freedom. that's why karen and the kids behind me, all of whom born in pennsylvania, all of those folks who understand the greatness of our state and the greatness of the values of this state, all of us understand what was sacrificed, in the mills and on the battlefields. and that's why we must go out and fight this fight. that's why we must go out and nominate someone who understands not because some pollster tells them, because they know in their gut just like you do, all across this country, you know in your gut big things are adrift and at
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stake in this election. so i ask each and every one of you to join us, to saddle up, like reagan did in the cowboy movies. to saddle up, take on that responsibility over the next five weeks. we're going to head to louisiana from here. we're feeling very, very good about winning louisiana on saturday i might add. >> that's rick santorum tonight. he may have lost in illinois, but he's not giving up the fight. what does victory mean for romney?
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you're looking at mitt romney and his wife. joining us is a senior adviser to mitt romney. eric, a big win, a big night for you guys. >> it's terrific. i know governor romney is gratified and i think it's another sign that the republican party is uniting behind mitt romney candidacy. >> is it time seriously for newt gingrich and/or ron paul or both of them to consider stepping down? >> look, that's a very personal decision. i'm not going to make that for them. i understand about the emotion and the hard work and the sweat that goes into a campaign, they have been at it for a long time. both rick santorum, newt gingrich and ron paul, they're decent people.
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they have run honorable campaigns. at some point the reality is going to set in that mitt is the all but certain nominee. i can tell you what mitt romney did four years ago when he found himself in the similar situation running against john mccain. after super tuesday, john mccain didn't have the delegates to become the nominee, but he was on track to get the delegates and mitt romney made the decision to step aside. he stepped aside because he thought it was good for the country. we were at war in iraq at the time. and he wanted to give john mccain the time to rally the party and unite behind his candidacy. >> well, from what you're saying, are you suggesting that they all should stand aside? is tonight a tipping point, should all three of the candidates, given the number of delegates your man has, should they stand aside? we have 20 seconds. >> well, there's no one coming down from the heavens

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